Dead prosecutor Nisman honored at ceremony marking 21 years since AMIA attack

Julie Wiener

BUENOS AIRES (JTA) — The elder daughter of Alberto Nisman, the special prosecutor who died mysteriously in January, participated in an official ceremony marking the 21st anniversary of the bombing he was investigating.

Iara Nisman, 15, appeared on stage and lit a candle Friday at a Buenos Aires ceremony  under the auspices of AMIA, the Jewish organization whose headquarters was bombed in 1994, killing 85 people and wounding 300.

“My sister Kala and I, we ask for help us find the truth about what happened to my dad, because he cannot defend himself and there are some detractors of their  work ” Iara Nisman said in a written message read aloud on stage by a journalist.

READ: U.S. forensic pathologist says Nisman case more likely a homicide 

“We invited Iara to join the ceremony and she accepted with bravery and honor. It’s not easy for a kid; she shows maturity,” Luis Czyzewski, member of a group for relatives and friends of AMIA victims, told JTA. Czyzewski’s 21-year-old daughter Paola was killed in the AMIA attack.

While the case has never been resolved, it is widely believed that Iran was responsible for the attack, along with the bombing two years earlier of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires.

Because the anniversary of the AMIA bombing falls on July 18, which is Shabbat, the ceremony was held a day early, on Friday, in front of the rebuilt AMIA headquarters. Approximately 5,000 people attended.

“The AMIA cause is not an issue of the judicial community, the government or the opposition. The resolution must become a national question that takes us from the shame in which we Argentineans have been living in for the past 21 years, ” AMIA Treasurer Ariel Cohen Sabban said at the ceremony.

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World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer, who participated in the ceremony, said in a news release: “Nisman did so much to advance this investigation and who is sadly missed, we are now faced with a crucial question: Will we ever see justice in the AMIA case? Will the Argentine government continue to have the worst terror attack in this country’s history investigated, or will it try to close this chapter?”

Mario Averbuj, who lost his 20-year-old daughter Yanina in the AMIA bombing, said, “We want to mention the human tragedy involved in Nisman’s death, It prevented his daughters from enjoying Dad. Iara and Kala,  you should feel proud of your father,” he said, interrupted by applauses by the crowd. “We want to tell you that every time that we met him, the first thing that he talked to us was about you, about how well you were doing at  school and how happy he was to see you grow.”

In addition to marking the 21-year anniversary of the AMIA bombing, Saturday will be the six-month anniversary of Nisman’s death. The prosecutor was found dead of a gunshot wound in his apartment.

Prosecutor Viviana Fein has not yet released a final ruling. “I cannot determine for the moment whether it was a suicide or a homicide,” she  said on March 6, when she convened the authors of the independent forensic report to examine their evidence.

While the banner appearing onstage at previous AMIA ceremonies featured the words “justice” and “memory,” this year’s banner bore the words “Victims of Impunity” and “Victims of Terrorism.”

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